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Science and Politics: Professor David Nutt and David Blunkett

43 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 18 June 2012

On Start the Week Andrew Marr asks how far scientific evidence can influence the political agenda. Professor David Nutt is a respected researcher working in the field of drugs, but is best known as the government advisor who was sacked by the Home Secretary for comparing the risks of horse-riding with taking ecstasy. He argues for a rational debate on drugs policy based on objective evidence. Mark Henderson despairs that this will never happen while only one of our 650 MPs is a scientist. But the former Labour minister, David Blunkett, defends his profession, arguing that even evidence-based policy must take into account public opinion and perception. And for former No. 10 advisor Jill Rutter evaluates the evidence for and against.
Producer: Katy Hickman.


    David Nutt is Edmond J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London.

    'Drugs – Without the Hot Air: Minimising the Harms of Legal and Illegal Drugs' is published by UIT Cambridge.

    David Nutt

    Mark Henderson is a media commentator on science and politics.

    'The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters' is published by Bantam Press.

    Mark Henderson

    David Blunkett is the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough.

    David Blunkett

    Jill Rutter is Programme Director at the Institute for Government.

    Jill Rutter


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